Assessing the Potential for Water Stewardship Partnership Using Water Risk and Action Framework: The Case of Nzoia Basin, Kenya
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Water is the most important substance that forms the basis of life. It is essential in agriculture, business sector and an important ingredient in most industrial processes. There is an increase in water stress and water scarcity. Collective actions among different sectors, institutions and stakeholders are needed to reduce future water risks. This study aimed to assess the potential for a water stewardship partnership in River Nzoia Basin to reduce future water risks to the ecosystem, agriculture, businesses, and other sectors by mapping stakeholders and determining the potential for a water stewardship partnership, by which we can identify the major challenges facing the basin and offer a systematic solution to resolve them. Nzoia river basin covers an approximate area of 12,696 Km2 home for over 3.5 million people. Water Risk and Action Framework (WRAF) provides a stepwise guide to water stewardship from Prepare, Assess, Commit, Act, to Scale and Exit phases using dedicated tools for each step to achieve the successful partnership. Water risks have been quantified using indicators from remote sensing platforms and secondary sources with indicators such as Leaf Area Index (LAI), Rainfall Use Efficiency (RUE), and Soil Water Stress (SWS). Priestley-Taylor Alpha Coefficient was used to derive the Water Risks Index (WRI). Stakeholder mapping was conducted using stakeholder analysis guide that was developed by the International Water Stewardship Programme (IWaSP), while stakeholders’ views about water stewardship partnership were collected using questionnaires. The results showed that there is a high fluctuation in the vegetation cover and primary productivity in the basin pointing to a possible degradation and deforestation. It was also notable that there is an increase in the frequency and severity of drought over the years with the first three months being most affected. There is a high evapotranspiration in parts of the basin due to the low vegetation cover in the basin, which have increased soil water stress. The above-mentioned factors indicated that Water risk had increased between 2000 and 2014 in different parts of the basin at different magnitude of risk. The conducted interviews found that the basin lacked a stewardship programme although there were observed water shortages within the basin. However, there was a potential for a successful stewardship partnership among stakeholders and a significant number of stakeholders within the basin showed their ability to spearhead the stewardship programme. Last but not least, this study showed that Nzoia river basin faces challenges that need to be urgently addressed such as the increased droughts over the years, deforestation, highly variable weather, catchment and land degradation. Therefore, forming a water stewardship programme can help in tackling the challenges that are facing the basin. the proposed water stewardship programme should be built on commitment, transparency, and inclusivity.
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